TORONTO - The Liberal plan to close the province's last three remaining facilities for people with developmental disabilities is being called "heartless" by OPSEU President Leah Casselman. Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia, Rideau Regional Centre in Smiths Falls and Southwestern Regional Centre in Blenheim are to begin
shutdown operations and be completely closed by March 31, 2009.
"This is a heartless move and goes against everything a Liberal government is supposed to stand for," said Leah Casselman. "These aren't just buildings; to the residents, it's home. A lot of the residents of these centres have lived there all of their lives. The people who cannot function in a community setting will simply fall through
Casselman went on to say that economic impact to the affected communities is immeasurable.
"These centres are staffed by trained professionals who are quite simply among the best in the province at caring for these residents," Casselman said. "The loss of these jobs is an economic earthquake to Orillia, Smiths Falls and Blenheim. This is a total of $84.4 million being taken out of Ontario's economy. We're talking about nearly 2,000
jobs that will leave these communities and never return."
Casselman is asking Community and Social Services Minister Sandra Pupatello to reconsider this decision and not force 1,000 of Ontario's most vulnerable citizens out of their homes. "The Minister is making a tragic mistake," Casselman said. "On behalf of those who can't care for themselves, we ask the government to keep these centres open."
For more information:
Don Ford, OPSEU Communications (416) 788-9104